Listen to those banshees wail! (CREDIT: Jonathan Hession/Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan

Director: Martin McDonagh

Running Time: 114 Minutes

Rating: R for Irish-Accented Profanity, Inexplicable Violence, and a Bit of Nudity

Release Date: October 21, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: In a remote corner on the coast of Ireland, Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) suddenly decides that he no longer wants to be friends with Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell). This is happening against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War of 1922-23, but it kind of feels like it could be in a present-day village that is so cut off from the rest of civilization that it never assimilated any of the new technology of the past 100 years. Meanwhile, Pádraic’s sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) is all ready to finally leave the island, and she’s encouraging her brother to do the same. There are several other residents that we encounter, most of them men who rarely do anything besides hang out at the tavern. Then there’s Dominic (Barry Keoghan), the youngest, simplest, and most sensitive of all the main characters that we meet. But his prospects don’t look great, because Inisherin is no country for Dominics.

What Made an Impression?: I initially found The Banshees of Inisherin to be generally entertaining, but also profoundly inscrutable. Pretty much all of Colm’s behavior is nonsensical, but he’s so sure of himself that it makes you wonder, “Am I missing something here?” Eventually, though, it all clicked into place when I realized that Colm must be suffering from clinical depression. It wasn’t obvious at first because I’ve never experienced it myself directly, though I have encountered enough portrayals of mental illnesses to realize that it’s less about constant sadness and more about inexplicably destructive decision-making. Writer-director Martin McDonagh presents us with plenty of outrageous developments, but he employs a light touch that allows us to be drawn in at our own speed.

McDonagh’s previous collaboration with both Farrell and Gleeson was 2008’s In Bruges, a quirky black comedy thriller that is absolutely beloved by a not-insignificant segment of film buffs. I liked that one well enough but never felt like I was fully on its wavelength. I have similar feelings about Inisherin, but I’m a little closer to the inner circle this time. It’s not fully my vibe, but I think I get it. If this is your vibe, though, get ready for a hell of time.

The Banshees of Inisherin is Recommended If You Like: Hibernophilia

Grade: 4 out of 5 Friendships